It is difficult to pinpoint an actual start date for the collection of customs duties in Jamaica. However, in 1867, a detailed list of duties on imports and exports was established. In 1877, a law was enacted which made provisions for:
- The establishment of wharves, ports and warehouses
- The appointment of customs officers
- The payment of drawbacks, bonds and securities
- The registration of ships and airplanes
- Modes of entry required for the importer and or exporter
- The importation and warehousing of goods
The Collector General’s Department is the first revenue agency to be historically documented. It was appointed in 1868, with the primary responsibility of collecting revenue on all imports with the exception of the Post Master General. It was also responsible for the collection of taxes on income and property, licensing fees and other business related taxes.
In 1985, the Jamaican Government established the Inland Revenue Department to promote greater accountability and to augment revenue collection. The Department was divided into the Customs and Excise Department and the Inland Revenue Department. In October 1991, the Jamaican Government, in conjunction with the World Bank, reorganized the revenue service along functional lines. One element of the reorganization was the further sub-division of the Customs and Excise Department into the Jamaica Customs Department and General Consumption Tax (GCT) Department.